12:38 GMT23 September 2020
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    ATHENS (Sputnik) - Diplomatic sources in Greece refuted on Thursday information that Ankara and Athens had agreed to begin technical talks within NATO to de-escalate tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean, media reported.

    According to the sources, as cited by the AMNA news agency, such information does not correspond to the reality, however, Greece "duly noted the intention of NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg to work towards establishing de-escalation mechanisms within NATO".

    Meanwhile, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Ankara stands in support of holding talks with Greece, as proposed by NATO, in the hope of reducing the ongoing tensions in the eastern Mediterranean Sea.

    "The NATO secretary-general has come up with an initiative to reduce tensions in the eastern Mediterranean to prevent unwanted incidents in the sea and air. This initiative, which is supported by our country, is also aimed at starting military negotiations between the two countries within NATO, as the secretary-general said", the foreign ministry stated.

    Ankara expects Athens to support this initiative, the foreign ministry stated, adding that the Turkish government remains open to holding talks with its counterparts in Greece to find a situation to the territorial dispute.

    Earlier in the day, the military alliance's secretary-general, Jens Stoltenberg, said that the two countries were ready to get together for a round table.

    Turkey's drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean have long mired its relations with Greece and also Cyprus, both of which have claimed that Ankara crossed into their exclusive economic zones.

    Tensions exacerbated last month as Turkey intensified the drilling closer to the Greek border, ignoring the calls to leave the disputed waters.

    NATO, Greece, Turkey
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